Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are both successful superhero films in their own right, even if Captain Marvel did just arrive in theatres this week. Both movies have their strengths and weaknesses, and people are bound to have their favorite moments and characters, especially if they have a preference for either Marvel or DC. While this list isn’t meant to put the two movies against each other (as we definitely need and enjoy them both and want more superhero movies with more women), each film has excelled and fallen short at different points.
Here is a list of five things Captain Marvel did better than Wonder Woman as well as five areas where Wonder Woman was best.
10 BETTER: NO LOVE INTEREST
One great thing about Captain Marvel is how it didn’t feel the need to give Carol Danvers a love interest. There’s a trend in films to make sure that every female protagonist gets a male love interest, and it was refreshing to have Carol Danvers' relationships be about friendship instead of about romance. There definitely wasn’t a need to give her any romances, and a good choice on the part of the filmmakers.
9 WORSE: LACK OF ROMANCE
While it was great to not give Captain Marvel a love interest at all, there could be an argument made that Carol and Maria have a relationship that could be read as romantic, pointing to a larger problem with the representation of LGBTQA characters in the MCU. On a different note, the relationship between Steve Trevor and Diana was well-done in Wonder Woman and explored romance in a healthy and interesting way that didn’t sideline Diana to a lesser role. Despite its heteronormativity, it was still a refreshing take on love.
8 BETTER: CREATING A WELL-ROUNDED HERO
While Wonder Woman is definitely a powerful heroine, she is a mythical person--an Amazon from mythology. Captain Marvel is also superpowered, but it turns out she’s actually a human who lived a fully human life. Because of this, Carol Danvers seemed more relatable and current than Diana did. Overall, she seemed to be a more well-rounded character who had just as many flaws as strengths. So, while Diana is definitely a wonderful hero, she’s a little less accessible when it comes to relatability.
7 WORSE: NOT AS MUCH AT STAKE
The plot of Captain Marvel turned out to be less about saving Earth and more about saving the Skrulls. This was quite a plot twist and an enjoyable one in many ways, but, in the end, it didn’t feel like there was as much at stake--especially when compared to what Wonder Woman was fighting for. Captain Marvel was less focused on saving the world and more focused on figuring out who she was as a hero. This isn’t necessarily bad as she will likely be instrumental at saving the world and defeating Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but the stakes definitely felt higher in Wonder Woman.
6 BETTER: CONNECTING THE STANDALONE FILM TO THE UNIVERSE
Just like with many other MCU films, Captain Marvel does a great job when it comes to connecting the story to other MCU films and characters. Nick Fury features prominently in this movie and other characters like Phil Coulson also get cameos. Along with this, there are other connections such as the tesseract and SHIELD, as well as that surprising post-credits scene that hints to what we can expect in Endgame. Wonder Woman was a fantastic film, but it doesn’t connect as powerfully to other movies in the DCEU.
5 WORSE: ESTABLISHING THE HERO’S POWER RIGHT AWAY
Captain Marvel is definitely an origin story that’s about Carol Danvers figuring out who she is and coming into her own as a hero and as a person. As such, we don’t really see her powers and their full extent until much later in the film. This is definitely a narrative device that works with the story, but Wonder Woman worked just as well--and perhaps even better--when it established right away that Diana is very capable as a warrior.
4 BETTER: BETTER WORLD BUILDING
Maybe it’s because Captain Marvel is mostly set in America in 1995, but it was much easier to believe the world that was created in this movie. The setting of Wonder Woman was mainly Themyscira as well as World War I Europe, so establishing a believable and relatable world was perhaps more a difficult task. Overall, Captain Marvel did a better job and the setting, complete with little nods to the audience's nostalgic childhood era, was well-articulated and rarely distracting.
3 WORSE: LACKING AS ICONIC OF A MOMENT AS THE NO MAN’S LAND SCENE
One of the best scenes from Wonder Woman was the No Man’s Land scene where Diana takes on gunfire and reaches enemy lines to save the day. This scene was very powerful and metaphorical for the challenges that women face daily. While Captain Marvel did have some powerful, feminist scenes, it was lacking a scene that was as intense or emotionally effective as Wonder Woman.
2 BETTER: GOOSE
Goose was definitely one of the stand-out characters of the movie. As many people guessed ahead of time, Goose isn't just a regular old pet cat, he is, instead, a powerful Flerken, who is pretty instrumental in saving the lives of the protagonists a few times in the film. Goose gave the audience many laughs and many adorable moments, and it’s hard to beat a movie featuring an alien cat that can be cuddled but also can eat enemies. Nick Fury definitely loved this adorable, scary furball, and many fans fell just as much in love as well. Since Wonder Woman didn’t have any alien cats or animals, it can’t really compete in this way.
1 WORSE: NOT BEING MADE A LOT SOONER
One of the main things Wonder Woman did the best on was that it was made earlier. The MCU clearly needed to have a movie that had a female character as a lead, and it took them over 20 movies to finally get with the program. DC definitely realized the lack of representation earlier on, and, as the first really major superhero movie with a woman as the main character, Wonder Woman will always be groundbreaking in that sense.